Saturday, November 12, 2005

Awww shucks!! Thank you Maureen...

Someone forwarded me a comment citing (the legendary Names Sourcer) Maureen Sharib's flattering statements about me and my teammates. Well, I blushed three shades of red which is a good trick once you consider my complexion. (wink) Thank you for the kind words Maureen! For the curious, here is a snippet...

That's not to say that the internet search experts out there, like Shally, and Glen, and Jim, don't actually work real magic with their threads and see things the likes of which you and I may never glimpse. I've heard it said they do and I've also heard it said that watching them is like watching poetry in motion - "amazing" is a comment I've heard more than once. But they're the exceptions and all of them, I'm sure, either have teams of phone sourcers who take what they give them, or they themselves, work the phones to produce really exceptional sourcing results.

Click here for the full article.

Friday, November 11, 2005

For every sourcer with an "Uncle Lucious"

The holidays are coming and I am looking forward to eating turkey with my family, chasing kids around the house and passing out in front of a stack of DVDs. One thing I am ("somewhat") looking forward to is spending time with my Uncle Lucious. That's pronounced "loo-shush" to friends and family and "lush-shus" to all the ladies. (But you have to hear him say that to get the full effect.)

Anyway, Uncle Lucious is what some would call "a visionary on the path to riches." There are others in the family who label him a deadbeat with a different get-rich scheme for every day of the week. If you ask me, I can see both sides of the equation, but I like to encourage people whenever I can.

"Nephew, you know what the world needs?" My Uncle asked me over the phone.

"No," I replied.

"The world needs fun at funerals."

"Fun at funerals?"

"Yeah, see I recently acquired a set of caskets in Las Vegas (Don't ask, I didn't!) and I was wondering how I could parlay them into a profitable enterprise."


"And then I had this idea of creating funerals around themes, you know, "Star Wars" funerals where people dress up like characters in the movie or a Bob Marley send-off where everyone dresses like they are in the islands and we play reggae music..."

"And serve Jerk Chicken with Beans and Rice!" (Sorry, couldn't help it-smile.)

"And then I had this idea of creating a theme park around death."

"Say what?" I said and blinked at the phone as if it were my Uncle.

"Yeah, you know how everybody has diffrent ideas about what Heaven is like right? "


"Well, I could create different set ups of what Heaven is like. Say... like... What would a Football Player's idea of Heaven be like? I could have women dressed like cheerleaders and wearing angel wings and..."

"How can I help you Uncle Lucious?" I interrupted. When Uncle Lucious gets into an idea it consumes him and I was running low on the monthly minutes of my cellphone.

"I hear you know your way around the computer and internet and all that..."

"I get around."

"I want you to find me someone I can brainstorm with on this idea and maybe someone who can help me sell these caskets if my idea is too far ahead of its time, if you know what I mean."

Sigh... (rolling my eyes)

"Uncle Lucious," I began, " I usually recruit technical people and don't normally seek out casket salesmen who might be ummm.. open-minded enough to receive your idea. Not that I want to discourage you in your dream, but I am a bit swamped these days with..."

Aunt Minnie just made a fresh batch of "Sugar Cakes."

"Really?!" I said, as I caught myself licking my lips.

You would have to be in my family to know about "Sugar Cakes." You would also have to taste one to know that my Aunt Minnie's Sugar Cakes are not truly of this world because no desert on earth compares to its crunchy toppings, fluffy center and sweet (or is tangy?) memories it leaves in your mouth moments after its in your stomach. My Uncle Lucious had several options to choose from when he decided to get married (let him tell it), but it was Sugar Cakes that edged my Aunt Minnie above the rest. If you were to taste one, you would not think that such an outrageous claim.

"Bring some over tonight and I will try to have a resume for you."

"And that's why you're my faaavvvooooorite nephew!" he cackled as he hung up the phone.

(As Scooby Doo is to Scooby Snacks, so am I to Aunt Minnie's "Sugar Cakes." I think I may need professional help.)

Once I hung up the phone, I realized that I had to deliver on my promise. More than a dozen ways to find someone for this requirement flashed through my head in a milisecond and after 3 seconds I was prepared to try them all, but lucked up (Big time!) with the first thing I tried. This is what I did. (See below)

I visited because I hoped to find someone blogging about a weird funeral. Once I found that, I figured I would track down what company produced the funeral and from that, track people who work there and hopefully - a casket salesman who may be open to listening (or tolerating) a conversation with my Uncle. And then at the last moment, I switched gears and thought, "Why not try a resume search first?" So I entered the following criteria: resume "casket sales" (see below).

Once I input that query I hit the big blue search button and it brought back one result. May I add however that it was a "perfect result?" (see below)

Okay, so there are not hundreds of casket salesmen on the blogs. No matter, I found the PERFECT resume for my Uncle to review and it only took seconds. Not only does he have contacts in the industry, he seems (very much) like someone who "thinks outside the box!" (No pun intended - wink.)

Curiously enough, I tried a similar search on Google and got nothing. Interesting...

So what is the moral of the story? Simply put, do what it takes to get some of my Aunt Minnie's Sugar Cakes. (And use MSN Search to save yourself some time.)


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This is why I work for Microsoft!

When I saw the above ad I laughed hysterically out loud and even now, its all I can do not to chuckle when viewing the above advertisement. I very much enjoy my side projects (Can you dig it?), but when I see an ad like this, I know I made the right choice in accepting an offer with Microsoft.

Tell me, how many risks has your company taken to recruit/source candidates via non-traditional means? If your company was looking for a sourcer, what most likely would they do? Place an ad somewhere and hope for the best? Of course they would! Why? It is safe. It is how you have always done it. And (groan...) no one has the daring to stick their neck out and do something quirky in HR to get tongues wagging and candidates applying.

As evident by the above (and things like it) Microsoft is doing something different and doing it right. Glad to be on board.

Diggin' On Windows Live

I just posted this on my Jobseeker's Revenge blog and thought that the info would be just as relevant here as well. Just substitute the jobs feeds cited on Pagebites with the resume feeds that are also offered on Pagebites. It works either way. Enjoy!

We (Microsoft) recently launched a new (awesome) product called “Windows Live” and if you didn’t know, now you know. Windows Live is a big deal in consideration of all the things it will do, but let me help you grasp the possibilities by showing you one trick that you can immediately use. Presently, we do not have our jobs available in RSS (disappointed sigh…), but never fear… Thanks to Windows Live I have a hack that works great. Let’s go through it step-by-step.

Below is a screenshot of Windows Live in its simplistic splendor. You can make cosmetic changes like adding more columns and hiding categories and such, but I will let you discover that on your own as you play with it.

The first thing I want you to do is “Sign in” which means you have to create an account. No worries, its all free.

Once you are signed in, you can add the name of your favorite blog into the search box. In this example, I am using my other blog “Jobseeker’s Revenge.” Once I entered the title of the blog I hit the search button. (See arrow)

The search results returned are specific blog posts from the web. Nice to see, but not what we want. We want to click the Feeds button (see arrow).

Now the search results reveal blogs titled “Jobseekers Revenge” and blogs that mention Jobseeker’s Revenge. After reviewing the results, it’s the first link I have an interest in so I click “Subscribe.” (see arrow)

And like magic (abracadabra), it appears under “My Web.” Please, hold the applause.

Now the next time I come back to my “Windows Live” homepage, I can choose to read the “Jobseeker’s Revenge” blog from the menu. (See arrow)

This is how it looks once you do. You see the most recent post in all its glory. You also have the option to read only the headlines (by clicking collapse all) or reading all the post by making one long page of blog entries (expand all). You can do these things from the links just under the blog title. (see arrow)

Now this is where the hack comes in I was telling you about earlier. Leave Windows Live for a moment and visit Pagebites. Pagebites is a careersite that aggregates (among other things) jobs from multiple careersites (Careerbuilder, HotJobs, etc.) Click the Jobs link (so that the word Jobs turns black) and enter in criteria relevant to your background. In this example, I am adding “Microsoft, Sales” for the keywords and Redmond for the city I am interested in working in.

Pagebites brings back over lots of results for Microsoft jobs where the keyword Sales is mentioned. Groovy! Now notice the orange RSS button? (see arrow) Click on it!

What pops up is an XML file on the results you just found in Pagebites. No need to make sense of it, all you have to do is copy the web address of this information. Click on the address until it is highlighted, on your keyboard hit CONTROL (the CTRL button) and “C” (also on your keyboard) to copy it. Once done, head back to the Windows Live page.

Now that you are back on the homepage, click the Advanced Options. (see arrow)

The first slot under Advanced Options says “Subscribe to a specific feed by entering the URL below.” This is where you enter the address in you just copied over at Pagebites. (Simply click inside the slot and on your keyboard hit CONTROL (the CTRL button) and “V” (also on your keyboard) at the same time and that will paste the info in.)

And Abracadabra! There is a link to the Pagebites’ job search results page, just under the link to the news feed for Jobseeker’s Revenge. Let’s take a look at it.

I click the Pagebites link and (as before with my blog example) I see the first result in the news feed and headlines for all of the other results.

Now this is VERY groovy! Why? By using Windows Live in this way, you can keep a close eye on all Microsoft job opportunities as they are posted to the multiple careersites in REAL TIME! Imagine a job being posted at 9:15am, you see it on Windows Live at 9:16am and reply at 9:17am ahead of your jobseeking competition who rely on job alerts that go out at a certain time or check only one or two careersites infrequently. When job searching, every bit helps, right?

Good luck!


Sunday, November 06, 2005

When will careersites innovate?

Tivo - yawn. Microsoft Media Center - BIG YAY!!! (See the screenshot above?) If you do not know the difference between the two then you have not experienced the MMC (Microsoft Media Center). I have a Tivo at home, but after hanging out with a pal of mine and seeing his MMC set-up at home, I turned 7 shades of green with envy. Ooohhh.. I want one - bad. Later that same evening I returned home to my Tivo and thought "MMC does this, but Tivo doesn't, Tivo does this, but MMC does it cooler and has all of these great features and..." Sigh... I am such a gadget geek. (Hmmm.. maybe I can get an employee discount?)

Feeling somewhat depressed with my TV set-up, I flip through my assortment of must-see TV and guilty pleasures. Just in case you are wondering, I'll run through a few: Alias, Lost, 24, Smallville, The Apprentice and Desperate Housewives (again - guilty pleasure) and Samurai Champloo. Somewhere between watching Mugin and Jin carve bad guys with their swords (Samurai Champloo) and Bree creating the perfect family meal (Desperate Housewives) I get this idea. What would it take to become my favorite TV character? The more I thought about it the more I realized how career sites and the recruiting industry as a whole were missing out on a golden opportunity.

Riddle me this Batman. When was the last time you saw something truly innovative erupt from one of the major career sites? And when I say innovative, I am not referring to a "me too." (Oh look, Monster has a blog now! Yawn...) If you are like me then you can not think of anything earth-shattering either. If I may, allow me to make a suggestion to every career site in the world. After clearing my throat I say, "Do something different!!!"

Why not divide your jobs up in other ways than industry and company? Consider these suggestions...

1. Have a section of your site dedicated to specific television shows and/or popular movie characters. Create resumes for these characters that link to current opportunities and specific schools. For example, (Smallville fans will appreciate this) have a biography page on Clark Kent. It would include Clark's yearbook picture, a mention of his interests in astronomy and his intention to either pursue a career as a mild-mannered reporter or, major in Agriculture and assist with the family business. Clicking on astronomy, reporter or agriculture would link to relevant job openings and perhaps college websites that offer programs in those areas.

Or better yet for the CSI fans... After watching a 6-hour marathon of Gil breaking down crime scenes, you think that you can do that (or you would at least would like too). So the next time you are job searching for a dream job, you see Gil's picture and say I want to do that gig. How do I even get started? Who would hire me? So you click on the CSI Jobs section and you see something like this (from the official CSI website)

(Doesn't looking at the picture put the TV theme in your mind? Hum with me... Ooooohhhh aaaaahhh...)

Inside of this fictional profile would be links to schools he attended and the jobs this character is qualified for. I think it would be worth a few bucks to advertise a position to qualified forensic scientists that are CSI fanatics. Why? People passionate about their work make better hires!!! (Jim Stroud's Tip of the day.)

2. Although this is not recruiting related, well.. maybe it is. Howzabout a cross-promotional bringing awareness to the latest box-office bonanza? For example, Nicholas Cage has a movie out now called "The Weatherman." Why not approach movie producers with the idea that a career site can market a movie directly to people looking for jobs in meteorology? Who better to generate buzz about "The Weatherman" than people passionate about the science of weather?

Furthermore, careersites could have a message board where people could discuss what was wrong with the science of "The Weatherman." For example, I can EASILY imagine someone saying that "...the Doppler radar used in the first scene was not the best radar to use because that model was based on a technology two years out of date. They should have used the new Doppler 3000. Blah, blah, blah..." Okay, you may roll your eyes at someone who nitpicks over details like that but guess what? This is THE person that you would want to hire. Why? Please refer to earlier point ( People passionate about their work make better hires!!!)

Am I am being a bit naive in thinking that this is possible? Maybe career sites are perfectly satisfied with business as usual? Maybe they have already considered approaching this strategy and turned it down? Maybe recruiting and entertainment are two entities that are best kept separate?

Maybe. But I doubt it...